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Gambia Stops Paracetamol Syrup Sales

FILE: Tablet form of pain reliever Paracetamol. Taken 1.8.2009

Gambia on Tuesday ordered importers and shops to suspend sales of all brands of paracetamol syrup while the government investigates a suspected link between the medicine and the deaths of dozens of young children.

Last Thursday, the head of the West African country's health service said it had launched the probe after a spike in cases of acute kidney injury among children under the age of five was detected in late July.

The children suffered symptoms including an inability to pass urine, fever and vomiting that quickly led to kidney failure.

It did not name any specific brands, but said some samples had been sent abroad for quality control testing.

On August 8, Gambia's medicines regulator, known as the Medicines Control Agency (MCA), said there was insufficient data to warrant a general ban on paracetamol syrups, a painkiller often used to treat fevers in children. That decision has now been countermanded.